How to Enhance Your Online Privacy?

Ways to Boost Your Online Privacy?

As the internet is becoming complicated with our everyday life, it has become vital to be cautious about how you’re protecting yourself and your online information. In this age, where every other day, we heard the news about data breaches and hacks, it isn’t enough to trust browsers, ISPs, and websites to do this for you. A strong reason for not believing them is the lack of their default privacy settings.

Being an empowered internet user, it is our responsibility to control as much of your privacy as you can. The following are some ways to improve your online privacy.

1.   Install a Password Manager

The easiest way hackers frequently use to steal data is by getting a batch of a username and password from one source and trying these combinations elsewhere. Like for instance, let’s suppose hackers got your username and password by hacking your phone. They attempt to login to the banking sites or online stores by using the same username and password combinations.

The most suitable way to prevent it is to use a unique and strong password for every online account you use. Having a different password for every site is a golden rule for staying online safe. Remembering long and random passwords effectively prevents brute-force attacks. Hackers are not much smart to remember gazillion passwords. Thus, the best way to do so is to use a password manager. By using the best password manager, you won’t have to remember different passwords, and your security will be maintained too. Secondly, to avoid this, you should know about phone hacking. If you want to acquire knowledge on how to know if your phone is hacked or not then follow this link.

2.   Update Your Account Information

Take out some time and go through your account and check if they have the correct information. It includes your phone number and email address. If you have a weak password it takes some time to update it. Research shows that providing the correct phone number and email address improves the chances of account recovery in case of a hack.

3.   Use a VPN

The best way to ensure your security on the web is to use a VPN. It is an encrypted network that ensures that your location and network connection remains safe from all snooping eyes. Whenever you connect to the internet by using a Wi-Fi network, it is necessary to use a VPN. Let’s say you went to a coffee shop and connected to a free Wi-Fi network. You aren’t aware of the security level of that connection. It is possible that someone else on that network, without your consent, can steal your data, including confidential information sent from your laptop or mobile device.

A VPN is known to encrypt your internet traffic, sending it through a server owned by the VPN Company.  It means that no one, including the service provider, can spy on your data. A VPN also hides your IP address. Advertisers who are looking to detect you through that IP address will see the VPN Company’s address.

Hiding your location with a VPN server in another country can help you in unblocking the geographically restricted content. While on a severe note, activists and journalists in strict censorship countries have long used VPN technology to communicate safely.

4.   Modify Your Social Media Settings

Almost all social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, have privacy settings that are updated for a mobile app as well as a desktop site. If you haven’t looked at your settings for a long time, now is the right time to do it.

Head to the privacy settings section on each of the social media profiles. Decide how much information you want to show it to the strangers and update the settings to match it according to your needs. Facebook’s settings are challenging to navigate. Be wise in choosing the options to view your profile as a stranger to ensure you got everything in the right direction. Blocking strangers from viewing your data doesn’t protect your complete privacy.  Go through your privacy agreements to know what social media provides with your consent.

5.   Go With Software Protection Products

Malware and spyware are two significant threats to internet security. You should go online when you have some type of protection from these threats. Install reliable antivirus and anti-spyware products on your system as well as on your mobile device. Choose the products that best fit your needs. If you have a large volume of sensitive information or in case you participate in certain activities, ensure to choose protection tailored for your needs.

Avoid clicking on strange pop-up windows and unsolicited links. Quickly close windows that ask you unexpected questions. Lastly, make sure that you’re downloading reliable applications from some reputable sources.

6.   Update Your Software

Updating your system timely helps in protecting your system against threats. Many updates come with vulnerabilities fixes in your software found by the software provider or by less savory ones. These weaknesses are a problem because cyber crooks can use any of these vulnerabilities and can cause harm to your system. Software updates resolve such issues and keep the information protected. Prevent hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities by keeping your software updated.

7.   Enable Two Factor Authentication

Although two-factor authentication is a bit carrying with pain, it makes your accounts more safe and secure. This authentication means that you need to pass an additional layer of authentication apart from a username and password to get access to your accounts. If you’ve some sensitive data in one of your accounts and if it offers two-factor authentication, you should enable it. Dropbox, Evernote, and Gmail are some examples that provide this security feature.

Two-factor authentication verifies your identity by using two different kinds of authentication. It can be either through a mobile phone number or by using techniques like facial recognition and fingerprint scanning. In the first case, you are asked to enter a code sent via a text message or hit a confirmation button on a mobile app. You can also use a physical security key. Microsoft and Google have announced this kind of authentication soon.

8.   Avoiding Clicking on Bait

To improve your online privacy also includes what you should click and what not—clicking on bait, not just referring to popular videos and cat compilation. It can compromise links sent via emails, Facebook, and other messaging apps as well. Phishing links pretend as secure websites aim to trick you into getting your information and login credentials. Also, drive-by download pages cause malware to download and infect your device automatically.

Avoid clicking on links in text messages or emails unless you are sure they’ve come from a reliable source. Even then, be wary because your trusted source can be hacked, or the message can be a fake one. The same thing goes for links on various social media sites. If you think a post style is doubtful than what your friend usually does, soon report it.

9.   Update Cookies

Cookies mean how websites collect and store information regarding your browsing history. It means that sites are capable of using that data to analyze your online behavior so they can better advertise their products and services. But, this also means that these websites can sell collected information to a third party. As we already put so much of our information on the internet, it won’t be a bad idea to keep restrictions on where our data goes.

Not all cookies are harmful but it pays a tweak on your settings so that if a cookie gets installed within your system, you are informed. In this way, you’ll be aware of who’s reading your online activity.

Final Thoughts

Staying secure and maintaining privacy over the internet is as essential as you lock the door while using an ATM. Anyone can be robbed online as we are with a physical tweak-in. Enforcing all the steps might help you in improving your online protection, so it becomes impossible for the hackers to get into your account or network to view users’ sensitive data. The easiest way to do so is by using a VPN and various antivirus software.

 

Rebecca Jameshttp://privacycrypts.com
Enthusiastic Cybersecurity Journalist, A creative team leader, editor of privacycrypts.com. Follow her on twitter.

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